by Becca Christensen
As an event planner, my work comes in seasons and my busiest season is fall. This fall, just as we were about to be in full swing, planning four events in three weeks in three different states, we lost an employee in my department and my workload doubled. In the midst of seven day work weeks (with travel), an increased work load, and the frustrations of trying to learn and adapt to tasks I’ve never done, I entered one of the hardest seasons friendship-wise I’ve been through yet. I experienced the betrayal of a close friend and abandonment in another relationship within a week’s time. Bottom line: I found myself losing patience.
As I called a friend to vent about my relationship situations, he challenged me to be patient. He told me to take a step back and to wait a few days before reacting. I took his advice and spent the next five days praying every morning for the people involved. I know that if I had moved forward out of impatience, I would have severed those relationships. More than that, I know that I would have been wrong. While the fault for the friction wasn’t mine, I could have undone a lot of good by reacting poorly, out of impatience. The wisdom of a friend pushed me to be patient and the Lord gave me a chance to be a peacekeeper.
Still frustrated with situations at work, a week later I boarded a plane home for Thanksgiving. I was ready to pitch my “new life plan” to my parents while I was home. I had figured out exactly how I was going to get out of this frustrating season in my life and move forward to new things.
As impatient to pitch my idea as I was to do something drastic, the first chance I got to sit next to my Dad at dinner, I put it all out there. It went something along the lines of, “So, I’m thinking about quitting my job, selling my house, moving across the country, and going to graduate school…sound good? Ok, great.” He didn’t say much but I could tell when he invited me out on a lunch date the next day, just the two of us, (a little more tactful than my choice of venue: dining out with 20 people), it wasn’t because he didn’t have anything to say.
The next day before I was headed back out of town, we met at Cracker Barrel to sit by the fire and hash out my next steps. Thankfully I was feeling a bit more open minded by the time this lunch rolled around, (it’s amazing what a few days of sleeping eight hours will do for your sanity). Dad assured me of the Lord’s promises for my life, of the Lord’s plans to prosper me. But then he said possibly the only thing that could have gotten my attention in this season of life. He reminded me of the story of Sarah, Abraham, and Hagar. Sarah wanted a child but she was unable to conceive. Time passed and Sarah got impatient and instead of waiting for the Lord’s timing, she had her husband, Abraham, sleep with her slave, Hagar. Hagar did become pregnant and she gave birth to a son, Ishmael. A few chapters later the Lord promises Sarah a child of her own by the same time next year, which He does in fact provide. However, Sarah’s lack of patience made her path harder than it had to be and her family was at war with itself as a result (you can find this story in Genesis 16).
What my Dad was trying to tell me was that the Lord’s timing is perfect and His will is sovereign. Even though my frustrations were valid and it was normal to feel antsy at this time, he reminded me that now is the time to learn patience. To be still and wait on the Lord. He simple said, “Don’t miss what the Lord has for you because you’re impatient. The Lord wants to bless you, teach you, and provide for you.” He also reminded me of all the Lord has already done. Some of you, like me and the Israelites, might find yourself wandering in the desert acting like the Lord didn’t just bring you out of slavery. When we’re in a season of waiting for what God will do next, we all need to be reminded of what the Lord has already done in our lives.
What the Lord is teaching me about patience is this; when I feel anxious to act, it is often the time when I should do my most patient waiting and careful listening. We do not serve an idle God. He is always at work. He must have known this would be hard for us to remember, because in Isaiah 55:8 He reminds us, My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. What a reminder that as we become anxious and we want to move ahead, His ways are beyond my imagination.
The Lord desires each of us to be patient. He added patience to the list of Fruits of the Spirit. He reminds us to be patient over and over in His word. One of my favorite verses is Romans 12:12, Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
In my own life I know the consequences of impatience can be harsh. When I get ahead of the Lord’s timing, I wreak havoc. Patience is perhaps one of the hardest Fruits of the Spirit to demonstrate, yet it reaps the most benefits. “Patience in affliction.” I read it now as a word of caution. In relationships, in work, and in life when we are patient in our affliction and take time to remember what God has done for us, He will protect us from potential crisis as we wait on His timing and plan.
Becca Christensen works as an event specialist in the non-profit/sports world. She loves to bake, travel, read, blog, spend time with family, and root on the Indianapolis Colts. In addition to contributing to the Beautiful Blog, Becca attends Beautiful Monday Nights. You can read more about Becca on her blog, Oh, the Places You’ll Go.